Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Will There Be A Smooth Transition for Our Babies?!

Almost two and a half years ago, B and I decided we were ready to 'start' our family. At just six months into marriage, we knew we weren't ready for human babies yet, but we had both been wanting a dog of our own for a while, and so we deemed it the perfect time to add a furbaby into our mix. 

I've talked about exactly how Riley joined our family before. We knew we wanted to rescue a puppy, and knew we were interested in labs and boxers. And then, one cold Wednesday night in February, we traveled about an hour northwest of our house, picked her out of a litter of seven lab mix babies, and she was ours.

Riley has such a unique and fun personality, and I swear she must be at least part human because it's like she really understands what we say to her. Or maybe that's just me being a crazy dog lady. She is practically all sweetness tied up in a ball full of energy. It is because of these characteristics, and her curled tail and longer hair that we believe she is mixed with Boarder Collie, but we will probably never know for sure. 

Bringing a furbaby into our home taught me so much more about parenting, and what it will be like with B, than I ever thought it would. Sure, it's different, but there are quite a few similarities. We lost a LOT more sleep than we anticipated. In fact, to this day, Riley is still paving the way for her soon-to-be baby brother by gently waking us most mornings before 7AM.

I remember the days in the beginning where I would race through a shower because I was home alone with her and knew she may try to pee on the carpet of chew up another sock if I left her for too long. We crate trained, lost sleep, dealt with worms, and even paid a late night visit to the emergency vet all within the first eight months or so. I would be remiss not to mention how much help my husband was. He truly stepped up into the role as 'Daddy' to Riley, and he has been going strong ever since. It is because of this experience that I have no doubt B will be an amazing, involved and hands-on Dad to our children as well.

And now, we are preparing for our first human baby to enter this world. A child that we longed and prayed for, and have spent the last eight months growing and imagining what life will be like once he's here. With just a little over a month until my due date, people have started asking whether we think Riley knows something is about to change. My honest answer is 'no.' I think she knows something is different with me, after all, she can't snuggle up on my lap like she used to. But, I don't think she knows just how much her life is really getting ready to change. Right now, she is our only 'baby' and practically the center of the universe around here. She gets ample play and snuggle time with each of us, and has pretty much claimed the entire basement level of our townhouse as her personal domain.

It hurts my heart a little to think that she may feel ignored and neglected in a few short weeks. I am sure she will be the sweetest, most affectionate big sister to Gavin, but the transition period may be tough on all of us. 

I have no doubt we will learn the ropes in due time, but I know that many of my readers are already great Mommies to both their human and 'fur' babies, so I wanted to see if any of you could offer up advice for how you handled the first few, crazy weeks with your newborn at home, and getting your pup(s) used to the new addition?! Thanks, as always, for your help ladies!!


Julie said...

I have had friends who have worried about that but their dogs took to the baby right away and protect it more than you'd think. I'd be most worried about a cat personally because they don't always have the nicest side when something new comes in.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot said...

I am worrying about the same thing! Our puggle is SO spoiled and has always been our baby, so when the baby gets here in a couple weeks, I hope she does well with her. I want them to be best friends :/ Its going to be hard making sure our dog gets just as much love as before!

Not So Newlyweds said...

I'm so worried about Oliver and Wembley. Oliver knows something is up but doesn't really know what. He is super spoiled and sometimes I cry just thinking about how much this little baby will rock his world. I don't want him to become a "dog". He will always be my special boy. Wembley definitely knows something is up. He's always laying on my stomach and I think he likes to feel H kick. I just worry about him getting into EVERYTHING...because what cat isn't?! They will adjust but I'm sure it will be harder on us than them!

Jess Beer said...

Not the same since we have cats, but one thing I made sure to do was to wrap Abbie in a blanket at the hospital then had Chris bring the blanket home to the cats. It allowed them to get used to her smell, which I think helped a lot once we actually came home!

{annie_loo} @ The Farrar Four said...

We have a daschund and she is 11 years old. So we had her almost 8 years before Easton was born. SPOILED would be putting it mild. Lance did bring her home a blanket from the hospital before I came home with Easton for her to sniff. When we came home we set his car seat down in the floor and let her sniff. She was more excited to see me than she was to figure out what was in the car seat. The first night was very hard. She sleeps with us and Easton was in our room in the pack-n-play. She didn't go to sleep all night. She stoood at the edge of the bed and peered in the p-n-p all night long whining. Each day got a bit easier. Now, I will tell you, she has gotten less attention now, but we still have our times with her after Easton goes to bed where we snuggle up on the couch and she still sleeps with us so she's happy about that. They go from being 'human' to being a dog again. I never believed that till it happened. I stressed so much over that when I was pg with Easton. 100% CERTAIN I'd love her more than I loved Easton----CRAZY TALK! But...she is still very much loved and very well taken care of...she just might paw at her bowl a few extra times before I realize to put in food or water. :| My guess Riley being a big dog will take on the protector role as so many do. You'll laugh that you even worried about this when you look back in a few months. Promise!

"B" said...

Being a household with three dogs prior to baby - this was my number one concern. I can say - it takes some adjustments and getting used to for all involved. My poor bulldog has yet to completely forgive me for bringing a baby home but our mastiff has turned into the nanny dog. He absolutely wihtout a doubt loves the baby more than life itself. Those two together are utter contentment. All households are different but you will make it work exactly as its supposed too. I guarentee that Riley will love the baby as much as she loves you guys (in time perhaps).

Shannon said...

We have a dachshund that we got as a puppy when I was pregnant. When I was in the hospital my husband took one of the baby's blankets to our inlaws (where she was staying) and just laid it on the floor, without prompting she slept on it all night!

From the moment we brought Hunter home she has been a total mama dog, always protecting him and giving him kisses. If she thinks we're playing too rough with him she barks at us. It's quite cute. I think the fact that she's a female helps and maybe gives her more of a maternal instinct.

I think just try to get Riley used to the baby items and give her time to smell the baby and ease her into it.

Sarah said...

i have a similar post scheduled to this same topic! ive read a lot about the transition and i can only hope it goes well. it would break my heart if my dogs got depressed. good luck!

Sarah said...

weve got doggie bags outside in the garage so that when we come home with the baby they will get something as well and not feel totally neglected. ive also been playing crying baby sounds on youtube to help them adjust! or in hopes that it helps!

Amanda said...

I'm worried about this as well, though I have till January to figure it all out. We have an 8 year old basset hound and she can be really needy sometimes and she is our baby (along with your newly adopted cat who adores me). I have heard that you should take it slow introducing the baby to animals and vice versa, let the dog smell a blanket the baby has been wrapped up in.

I'm mostly worried about her howling when the baby cries, so we shall see what happens!